A long-time potato industry leader, who one Idaho colleague described as someone who thought inclusively and who was a builder of bridges, recently received the Potato Man for All Seasons award.

Dave Smith, who for 28 years served as president of the Idaho Grower Shippers Association of Idaho Falls, Idaho, before retiring last summer, was honored with the award at the National Potato Council’s annual meeting, Jan. 10, in San Antonio.

“He always would facilitate rather than attempt to create controversy,” says the Idaho industry colleague. “He was always thinking inclusively rather than exclusively.”

Whether it was rail transportation or regulatory issues, Smith sought common ground.

“Working within regulatory structure on the state and national level has provided me with the chance to help solve many issues for the industry,” he was quoted as saying in the association’s annual yearbook. “IGSA has never been the sole driver of these issues, but rather a good working partner with our friends and other associations, allied industry and at times with those who disagree with us.”

One long-standing issue concerned efficient transportation to deliver potatoes from field to store. That included truck, rail and bimodal—or piggyback—systems.

In fact, representatives with the Union Pacific and CSX railroads, with whom Smith had worked closely over the years, recognized him at the association’s annual meeting in Sun Valley, Idaho, in August 2008.

The Grower and its sister publication, The Packer, present the Potato Man for All Seasons award to honor a potato industry leader for his or her lifetime achievements. It is presented in conjunction with the NPC.

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